MIGDAL HA-EMEK (Heb. מִגְדַּל הָעֵמֶק; "Tower of the Valley"), town with municipal council status in Lower Galilee, 4 mi. (7 km.) S.W. of Nazareth, founded in 1952 with the aim of absorbing inhabitants of transitory immigrant camps in the vicinity. Real progress started at the end of the 1950s, when industrial enterprises opened there. The population increased from 1,650 in 1955 to 8,200 in 1968 when 67% of the inhabitants were from Morocco and other North African countries, 19% from Romania, and 7.5% from Iraq, while 1% were veteran Israelis and the rest from different countries. Approximately half of the town's gainfully employed worked in local factories, the largest of which were leather and cosmetic plants and produce mainly for export. In 1969 it was said to have the highest "export-dollar" income per capita in the country. Its educational network comprised 2,700 pupils in 1968, and maintained two comprehensive high schools. In 1988 Migdal ha-Emek received city status and in 2002 its population was 24,500 – a third new immigrants – with an area of 2.8 sq. mi. (7.3 sq. km.). The city expanded its industry to include a number of hi-tech firms but income remained well below the national average. The city overlooks a beautiful landscape, with a wide view over the Jezreel Valley in the south, and is surrounded by extensive woodlands, among them the *Balfour Forest.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.